There's no doubt about it at this point. Pandora Season 2 Episode 5 proves that this can be a pretty good show when they stick to interpersonal plots and politics.
And it's not like they're lacking for sensational moments without the big space battles and fancy(-ish) explosions.
The writing still swings wildly between being entertaining and pretty obnoxiously pretentious -- seriously, why is a Zatarian going to quote Latin? -- but at least most of this script made sense.
Firstly, kudos for the backstory on Greg and the Sea Hawk survivors.
Having no explanation for his appearance on the Hypatian Syndicate planet after being presumed dead since Pandora Season 1 Episode 3, and then no mention of him since Pandora Season 2 Episode 1, I had, quite frankly, assumed it was just going to remain unexplained because that happens a lot on this show.
I'm a little unclear as to how taking rhiodine (sp?) helps someone survive without resources, especially since it has been shown to turn users into constant 'roid-ragers.
Mind you, there was no mention of Captain Jaworski after the escape. Maybe Greg has more to make amends for than just hiding from Earth Com and Jax?
Y'know, doctors take this oath. Do no harm. We never really think that it applies to ourselves. We spend our entire lives looking at other people's wounds just so we don't have to look at our own.Greg
Before he confessed to his addiction, I totally thought he was going to confess to eating the captain.
Man, this show makes everything possible.
Admittedly, Las Venus is a fascinating concept.
Basically, the seedier planetary version of Vegas, it even looks like what Vegas would be if it had been founded in space, a city with no resources or industry except vice.
Xander: 777 credits. Lucky us. That exact fare buys passage to only one place in the galaxy.
Jett: Las Venus.
And despite the fact the same footage was run everytime we returned, it's the one time the sci-fi-ishness of the show wasn't distracting in its meh-ness.
Greg's role as the cut-man to all the arena fighters was a great in and Jett's insistence in being included on the mission gave Xander an option to send in to make contact with Collins.
So why the HECK did Xander have to walk in with him?
If Collins was going to recognize him as a buyer, why wouldn't he recognize him as a bodyguard?
Furthermore, one would assume the Triskellion has facial recognition in all his surveillance so, seriously, Captain Duvall, how dumb are you?
I am not some cadet under your command. This may be hard for you to accept but, for once, this isn't about you, soldier boy.Greg
Dumb enough to take up Jett's suggestion to drunk-dial Jax while getting sloshed with her dead ex and her best friend.
It was cute, mind you. Just really dumb. But dumb can be cute. Xander's a prime example of that.
Greg: Lieutenant's the current champion. Hasn't lost a match yet.
Jett: He's like a sexy grizzly bear.
Collins isn't far off the mark either. But at least he can blame some of that on the rhiodine.
It's pretty obvious that Ralen's not going to stay dead for long. I suspect a ruse to circumvent his father's legal ownership.
Also, one would assume a dead fighter doesn't need to have an explosive control collar (aka rave glo-stick).
Not sure how that helps Collins out unless his contract is almost complete.
In case you had not noticed, life is cheap here.Ralen
If I was prone to asking clarifying questions (and expecting answers), I'd want to know why the reigning fight champion gets put "in charge" of the fights and fighters.
Nothing about no-holds-barred fighting lends itself to presuming a champion would have the administrative and organizational skills to create the schedules and match-ups necessary to draw audiences.
And would a champion be most interested in retaining his title? Wouldn't he just line up or sabotage weaker opponents?
After all, it's not in his best interests to have to work hard to win.
Once I am married, I will never show my back to anyone again. Lest they plant a knife in it.Aleka
Jax's whole mission was more about setting up yet another character to be harmed by proximity.
Also, it once again establishes Jax as being irresistably attractive to basically everyone. Tall blondes, in particular (oh hello, Cordelia), seem to be vulnerable to her charms.
We get it. She's really cute.
The primary purpose, of course, was to introduce the Sumi and their whole problematic patriarchal wife-on-wife violence-driven culture.
Jax: Have you come to try and kill me?
Aleka: Honesty. Wonderful. No, I'm not here to try and kill you. You showed me your back earlier. If you were a second wife, you'd be dead by now.
Jax; I'm no one's wife and, if I was, I'd be the only.
Aleka: You would never live that long.
Considering uniting the races of the galaxy is key to saving them from annihilation by the Ancients -- and the fact that we're halfway through the season -- introducing one of the two we have no information on seems appropriate.
Based on Aleka and her guards, the Sumi are Klingon-like in behaviour but Tolkien Elvish in appearance.
Shral: How much do you remember about the Sumi Empire?
Jax: Just what I learned in Pevney's class. Big. Warlike.Very grrrr...
Shral: I'm not sure 'grrrr' was the actual adjective Ellison used to describe them but I suppose big, warlike, and grrrr does seems to do them justice.
I think it's key that we didn't see Aleka die on screen. Based on track record, she'll probably reappear at a convenient point in the future, leading the Sumi into the alliance with the other races.
It wouldn't be the first planetary revolution Jax had a hand in. (Miss you so much, Atria Nine)
Just when we thought Tierney had called it quits, it turns out she's been in Jax's head, er, dorm room the whole time, using Zazie as a spy.
Shral: Allow me to make formal introductions. Princess Aleka... please meet one of my finest students, Cadet Jax Joe.
Zazie: Hi, I'm Zazie, Jax's friend and one of Shral's less finer students.
We shouldn't be surprised though. Tierney's recruited from the Academy student body before.
She literally hired Sarika Larson the second she was expelled. And let's not forget Thomas's sojourn with the Hypatian Syndicate.
However, knowing Zazie's allegiances now sheds new light on Jett fiddling with stuff on her desk (literally).
If he's working for Shral (my assumption still) and Shral suspects Zazie... well, it looks like I pinned the villain tail on the wrong newbie.
All in all, I was a lot less frustrated with and enjoyed this offering more than any previous adventures this season.
Hopefully, this bodes well for the back half of the season.
As you watch Pandora online, consider how the simulation tech seems far more advanced than most of their communication tech.
Is it indicative of Earth Com's priorities or just the show's budget?
A few other questions I still have kicking around:
Why did the guys need to get drunk to acquire the alcohol for the rhiodine treatment? Did they?
When exactly did Zazie communicate that Jax is a spy to the Sumi secret police?
Why would said secret police choose to torture Jax in her own dorm room?
And lastly, shouldn't secret underground fight clubs have better security?
If you have any ideas as to the answers or questions of your own, throw them in the comments!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.